2018 World Cup Favourites: a break down

With the final 32 teams now known for Russia 2018 the betting is coming to the boil, Germany and Brazil unsurprisingly vying for favouritism in what will be the 21st FIFA World Cup.

       

Here we look at the top five candidates for victory in Moscow:

GERMANY
The 2014 winners come into the tournament ranked number one in the FIFA World Rankings once again, though that list is often proven inaccurate.

Best Current Odds: 5/1

       

Why Germany Could Win It
Joachim Low’s side won their ten game qualification group by 11 points, winning every game and finishing with a goal difference of +39.

Barcelona ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has developed into a proper replacement for Manuel Neuer and provides not only a great last line of defence but also a starting point for slick attacks.

With players like Leroy Sane and Toni Kroos at their disposal they will be hard to shift as tournament favourites once we get under way.

Why They Might Fail
No country has retained the World Cup since the great Brazil side of 1962 and it’s hard to say that this German team is quite in that category.  Winning it twice in a row truly would be a magnificent achievement.

 

BRAZIL
Brazil aren’t too far behind Germany on points in the rankings in second place as they go to Russia looking to avenge the embarrassment caused when losing a home World Cup semi-final 7-1 again Low’s men.

Best Current Odds: 5/1

Why Brazil Could Win It
Any team that can boast Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino must be difficult to beat.

Having the world’s two most expensive players doesn’t mean they have to win this, but their price tags exist because of their supreme talent and no team will want to face them in the later stages.

Why They Might Fail
South American sides have won the World Cup nine times but only once in Europe as conditions play a huge part.

True, these Brazilians are used to such conditions because of their club football, but history tells us that this tournament is likely to be won by a European side.

 

FRANCE
Didier Deschamps has Les Bleus still inside the world’s top ten and in prime position to launch an assault on this tournament.

Best Current Odds: 6/1

Why France Could Win It
Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have announced themselves as two of the world’s very best players and should they turn up fit and well they will make a huge difference.
There is a lot of strength in depth for France and so they will be one of the very few countries who turn up with 23 top class players at their disposal.

Why They Might Fail
The French have had a tendency to cause their own problems in the past, one World Cup squad even going on strike!  A similar Gallic implosion could ruin their chances for a first win since 1998.

 

SPAIN
This isn’t quite the all-conquering side which won three major tournaments in a row from 2008 to 2012 but they remain one of the world’s most feared teams.

Best Current Odds: 8/1

Why Spain Could Win It
Balance is the key; Spain’s top class players go right through the side from David de Gea in goal, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos at the back, Sergio Busquets in the midfield and the likes of Saul Niguez and Alvaro Morata up front.

Why They Might Fail
Many in Spain remain unconvinced at manager Julen Lopetegui’s ability to lead this team to a major tournament victory.  Time will tell.

 

ARGENTINA
The South American’s come into every World Cup well fancied and currently sit fourth in the FIFA World Rankings.

Best Current Odds: 9/1

Why Argentina Could Win It
Lionel Messi, plain and simple.  The major difference between him and the other great player of his generation (Ronaldo) is that he is a true team player.
Messi is the best in the business and deserves to hold aloft the Jules Rimet Trophy.  If he does, it would be Argentina’s third such victory.

Why They Might Fail
Three of their top five players, Messi, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria are all very similar and want to occupy the same area of the field.

The temptation for coach Jorge Sampaoli will be to play them all which will mean, unlike Brazil and Germany for example, his team has no real shape and simply exists to shoehorn in the best talent.

       

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